Snackbar Speculator: Prepare for Launch

May 23, 2010

Shawn Vermette is on vacation this week. In the meantime, we’re talking more about E3.

Current score

Andrew Passafiume: +125

Graham Russell: +45

Eric Schabel: 0

Shawn Vermette: +135

Sony debuting a premium PSN membership at E3

Game news site VG247 is reporting that Sony’s planning a paid premium membership that includes free PSN games and streaming music, among other services. The company has always used the free nature of PSN as a selling point in their battle against Microsoft. Would they give that up for an extra revenue stream?

Andrew:I can definitely see this happening, but I can only imagine it being a service that only gives you a ton of extra content for a cheaper price than XBL. They already offer online play for free, so taking that away from people and making them pay is a bit ridiculous and would most likely outrage many gamers. But I can definitely see a service that goes above and beyond what Microsoft does currently, or at least something Sony considers to go above and beyond XBL.80%

Graham: All the rumors seem to confirm that Sony gets it — they can’t mess with normal PSN membership. But a subscription that includes free games and streaming services? As long as it’s completely optional, it’s feasible. Of course, just because they could doesn’t mean they will, and it could get a delayed announcement too (since it isn’t exactly the kind of thing fanboys gush over).  55%

Eric:I could definitely see this story coming true. Sony can certainly charge for extra bells and whistles and still avoid criticism by offering most of the same services as Xbox Live for free, as it currently does. No matter how you look at it, the PSN network allows you to do the most important stuff, like play your games online for free, and that will always give it leg up over Microsoft. 65%

Announced 3DS launch lineup at E3 to include a core Mario or Zelda game

We know we’ll be seeing Nintendo’s new portable at the show, but we don’t know what games we’ll see. Nintendo typically launches a system with a flagship Mario title, but there have been exceptions (Virtual Boy got Wario, GameCube got Luigi, Wii got Zelda). Zelda is the other franchise that has the heft to carry a system launch for the core gamer. There’s a hesitation as of late, though, to release the important titles at a system’s launch, so the 3DS could start out megaton-free.

Andrew:I can’t see there being another Zelda game already, but I can definitely imagine a new Mario title. The DS launched with Mario 64 DS, which was also one of the first major games they showed off for the system back at E3 2004. A new Mario title that shows off the system’s capabilities, both in terms of 3D technology and graphical capabilities, would be a perfect move for Nintendo. 85%

Graham: They couldn’t possibly release two Mario games within a year, right? Oh, wait…NSMB Wii and Galaxy 2. Of course, they also couldn’t release two Zelda games in short succession either, yeah? Hold on a sec…Wind Waker and Four Swords. It’s completely possible, and Nintendo’s learned the pain of a lackluster launch a few times now. I won’t insist on it being a new title, since their modus operandi on handhelds is to release ports first (SMB Deluxe, SMB Advance, SM64DS), but there has to be something.  80%

Eric:I would love for there to be a new Mario or Zelda released at the launch of Nintendo’s next handheld, but I really don’t feel so confident about it. The development teams traditionally involved with those two landmark franchises have had their hands busy with console games as of late, and I am just not sure we can count on a brand new Mario or Zelda game right out of the gate. That said, history is on the side of this rumor, and there’s no better way for Nintendo to make an impact than to open with a heavy hitter. Either way, I certainly hope this one comes true. 45%

New hardware besides 3DS, Natal, Move, Vitality Sensor to debut at E3

This year’s really heavy on the hardware, with new peripherals from everyone and a new platform for Nintendo. There are still, however, rumors of other new iterations, from a new PSP to an HD Wii. Then there’s something that could come out of left field.

Andrew:With Nintendo already focused on unveiling the 3DS, I doubt there will be anything else from them aside from game announcements. Sony and Microsoft will be behind their own motion controllers/technology full force at their press conference, so I don’t believe they would show anything off either. Maybe we’ll get hints at something new coming from one of the big three, but nothing that will be officially unveiled.5%

Graham: Do I think the HD Wii’s coming this year? Probably not. I wouldn’t be surprised to see something in PSP land, though, since the Go was such a disaster and Sony wants to move on. I will say this, though: I expect a lot of accessories this year for the new peripherals. Like…way too many of them. And can anyone think of a use for the Vitality Sensor that isn’t just a Wii Fit followup? 30%

Eric:I really don’t see this happening. Microsoft and Sony are focusing on new “innovative” peripherals to keep their current consoles selling for another couple years; I don’t see them releasing any information about next generation hardware at E3. Nintendo seems pretty happy with the way things are going right now, and outside of the 3DS I don’t think we will see anything from them. In other words, the big three gaming giants all have their hands full this year already.20%

Joy Ride to not be released in 2010

Every year has its share of vaporware, crazy delays and sidetracked projects. BigPark’s free-to-play Xbox Live racer was featured at Microsoft’s booth at E3 2009 with a winter release, but we haven’t heard anything since. Microsoft has said that they’re planning to release it in 2010, but intentions aren’t everything.

Andrew:I forgot this game even existed. I really have no idea what to say to this, I doubt many people care about it. I can still see it coming out, considering Microsoft is doing fairly well at selling new Avatar clothing items and whatnot; they could use that to boost the sale of extras in Joy Ride. But it’s really hard to tell. 5%

Graham: This Avatar push was supposed to be a big part of gaming, and it isn’t there. I really don’t know how Natal games are going to incorporate them, so Microsoft needs to double down or get out. Personally, I’m surprised this didn’t release last holiday season, since the version I played last year was pretty much done. It would have been a great addition to Christmas family time. Do I think it’ll be delayed to 2011? No. But there’s a chance it’s gone completely.  10%

Eric:I’m going to give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt here and say we will be playing Joy Ride this year. It’s not a title that should require another year’s worth of development time, at least I hope not. Who knows, maybe we will see a surprise release during E3 itself…how’s that for a rumor? 5%